Remember 1988 when the Red Sox were winning on Morgan Magic? That was quite a season. Going into the All-Star break, the Sox were in disarray as manager John McNamara was unable to steer the team anywhere except to loss after loss. The club, which had some fine talent, was around .500. And the Red Sox players were displeased with the way in which McNamara ran the team. At the break, Boston was 43-42, 9 games behind the first place Detroit Tigers. So the Red Sox fired McNamara and named third base coach Joe Morgan interim manager.
When the Red Sox came back from the All-Star break an amazing thing happened. They could not lose a game. They won their first 12 under their new skipper. They also won 25 straight at Friendly Fenway. Management had been interviewing guys like Joe Torre and Lou Piniella for the job. But Morgan Magic made them stop the job search as they hired Joe Morgan (who would become known as “Walpole Joe” as he was a regular guy and that’s where he grew up) as the manager.
In those days, there were two divisions in each league—East and West. The Red Sox managed to win the East with a record of 89-73, one game ahead of Detroit, two ahead of Milwaukee and Toronto and 3.5 ahead of New York. The Sox met Oakland in the league championship and lost to them in four straight. (A feat they would repeat two years later once again under Morgan.) In 1991, the Red Sox came in second and Morgan was let go with one year left in his contract. But he remained amazingly popular around the Boston area and in 2006 he was named to the Red Sox Hall of Fame.
The Red Sox are 43-43 and 9.5 games out of first place. Wow, those stats are almost exactly the same as in 1988! They have been plagued by injuries but honestly, they have still have talent and should be doing a lot better. Is it Bobby Valentine’s fault? Who knows? But, as they say, you can’t fire the team so you fire the manager.
Jerry Royster is the third base coach under Bobby Valentine. Hmmmm….Royster Magic? No, it doesn’t work. You think Walpole Joe would want the job again? I doubt it. I think he’s happy with retirement. (The guy is 81.)
How Joe Made His Decisions
This may be a clue that will help Bobby Valentine in the second half. When the Red Sox were on a tear and reporters asked Morgan why he made a pitching change or put in a pinch hitter, he’s reply rather slowly, “I just had a feeling about it.” That’s how Joe managed from his gut. It worked for a while and everybody loved it. All I know is we need something magical to happen to this Red Sox team and I have not seen any angels in their outfield. It’s gut check time for the Boston Red Sox. Let’s get some.